A new app, called Babyscripts, has been released with the aim to guide users through pregnancy and breastfeeding by providing informative content relative to their personal stage of pregnancy. In addition to its convenience, a study done at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences used the app to help determine if it would reduce the number of medical trips for pregnant women, in turn reducing the burden on women who are unable to receive regular prenatal care and the healthcare system.
Kathryn Marko, MD, who is the first author of the paper and an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences says that "prenatal care is one of the most widely utilized preventative health care services, however there is little research on the effectiveness of standard prenatal care." In an attempt to explore the subject, Kathryn and her team began a study to determine if mobile apps are just as useful as trips to the doctor in terms of prenatal care.
Babyscripts is an app that was designed to educate users on their pregnancy while also having the ability to monitor blood pressure and weight. ScienceDaily reports that in addition, the app gives users information on important pregnancy-related subjects such as nutrition and breastfeeding. With the input of the pregnant woman's information, the app helps to point out warning signs for "hypertension or abnormal weight gain, which could indicate gestational diabetes, nutritional deficiency, or edema associated with preeclampsia", says ScienceDaily.
The study was done using 88 female participants between the ages of 18 and 40 who were considered low-risk in their pregnancy (i.e. a one-baby pregnancy with no previous problems). The results of the study showed that in using the app, it reduced the average number of OBGYN visits by almost three times per person. Co-author of the paper, Andrew Meltzer, stated that "while the results of our study were largely positive, more research is needed to determine the connection between mobile prenatal apps and maternal or fetal outcomes."
Although convenient for all parties, apps such as Babyscripts should be used with the understanding that you should see a real doctor if you are experiencing issues regarding your pregnancy. On the other hand, when no issues arise, this app provides basic assistance that wouldn't necessarily be needed from an in-office prenatal visit.